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f/8 and Be There
Fred Lynch

Saveway Oil makeover

Posted Friday, May 23, 2014, at 12:00 AM

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This picture of a gas station eluded identification, so we decided to get some help. We contacted Ken Steinhoff. He said it looked familiar, but he could not pin down the location. The major clue was the trolley track in the lower left corner next to Frony's shadow.

Ken contacted railroad buff Keith Robinson. We sent Keith the trolley track route and he responded:

"Using Fred's documentation of the streetcar tracks and then drawing them on a map of Cape, the pictured station is just south of the old Cape Girardeau Northern tracks on West End Blvd, east side of the street, now occupied by Norman's Radiator Service. On Google Earth, the semi-circular curb in the drive can still be seen and you can see the original window and door arrangement in the building facade. An additional stall has been added to the south side of the original two. The power line pole on the south side is the same one that was there when the picture was taken. I would speculate that the sign pole is the same pole that the large reflector light and the houses in the background fit the ones still there today."


So we took a picture of the scene as it looks today. We agree the power line pole could be the same, weathered and without the light today. However it appears the sign pole today is a larger diameter and is not the same as the large reflector light pole.

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After Keith identified the location, it was easy to confirm with a check of the 1964 and 1968 city directories which list Saveway Oil Co. at 20 S. West End Blvd. The 1962 and 1970 directories list "vacant" at that location.

We guess that Frony made the picture about 1963 as we have found very few of his images were taken later with his 4x5 Speed Graphic camera.


Prior to Saveway Oil, the location was A.E. Landgraf Oil Co. as listed in the 1949 - 1960 directories. Arthur E. Landgraf was the owner. Before that it was Consumer Oil Co. in 1937 and 1942.


For those interested, here is the documentation of the Cape Girardeau trolley tracks, taken from the book, When Missouri Took the Trolley, by Andrew D. Young:

International Shoe on North Main south to Broadway, west on Broadway, north on Henderson, west on Normal, south on West End Blvd., east on William, south a block on Pacific, east on Good Hope, north on Spanish, east on Independence a block to Main, north on Main to Broadway. Two blocks were added on Spanish south from Broadway to Independence, then a block east to Main, avoiding Broadway hill.

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  • Glad to be of help. Keith is my go-to guy for anything that lived near a steel rail.

    -- Posted by ksteinhoff on Fri, May 23, 2014, at 2:46 AM
  • This the location of A. E. Landgraf service station. Mr. Landgraf and family lived on the southwest corner of William and Minnesota. The house is still there, remaining untouched by he extension of William from Louisiana to Highway 61. "Art" Landgraf was a very good friend of a young Elroy. I got to know him from my working at the Sunny Hill Dairy, across the street. He was regular as clock--work when he would come across for his coffee breaks and lunch. He never closed during those times but would sit so he could keep an eye on his station for a possible customer when, he would hurridly finish his coffee and return. When I returned from the U.S. Army and began attending Southeast Missouri College (at that time) he asked me if I would work for him part time. I said yes and spent many months working there. He was a very thorough manager and wanted all things done on time, neatly and good customer relations. The station had no lift as I remember, however I do remember the sunken "pit" and stairs that were used to lubricate and remove the oil plug to drain the oil. He and his family attended Trinity Lutheran Church. I believe he had two children, I do remember his daughter married a music teacher and was active in the church music needs.

    -- Posted by Elroy on Fri, May 23, 2014, at 11:10 AM
  • The Martin Oil Company Service Station was just to the north across the railroad tracks from Landgraf. As I remember that station did not have an auto service bay and was predominately gasoline and kerosene sales only. The kerosene pump and free air was just to the south of the station lot, next to the railroad. To the north of the Martin Oil Service Station was the Kimbel truck line service building. I always admired the nice white and red paint job on the trailers. Behind the Martin Oil Company, facing Park Avenue was the Mulky Coal Company. One of the railroad cars brought on the spur line was a coal car to the Mulky yard. Other tanker cars were brought to the Ailine Oil Company on Kingshighway, Robinson and Landgraf (related to Arthur Landgraf) Lumber companies.

    -- Posted by Elroy on Fri, May 23, 2014, at 3:34 PM